I've shopped at Costco since I was 5 years old. Here's what I'm still buying over 25 years later.

·11 min read
costco cart being pushed in a parking lot
I'm a lifelong Costco shopper.Jennifer Espady
  • I'm a 30-year-old NYC native, and I've been shopping at Costco with my mom since 1996.

  • Some of my favorite products include salmon burgers, almond flour, and bakery cake.

  • In addition to food, I also stock up on bedding, clothing, and flowers at the bulk-goods store.

Sukhi's chicken tikka masala is a staple entrée.

packages of chicken tikka masala at costco
Sukhi's chicken tikka masala at Costco.Jennifer Espady

Sukhi's premade chicken tikka masala is an absolute staple in my household and a must-try if you love Indian-inspired food.

For $14.99 you can have a takeout-style meal with no extra delivery fees or waiting.

It comes completely cooked in two separate plastic bags so you can use just as much as you need to for a specific meal. And it's so simple to reheat.

I love adding my favorite spices or some green veggies, but it tastes amazing right out of the package, too. I serve this with a side of white basmati rice.

Each 36-ounce pack can easily feed two to four people.

I keep my freezer stocked with salmon burgers.

packages of salmon burgers at costco
Trident Pacific-salmon burgers at Costco.Jennifer Espady

The Trident Pacific-salmon burgers are such a versatile item that's always in my freezer.

These patties can be grilled or cooked like a regular burger and taste delicious right out of the bag. I love to put it on a sesame-seed bun and top it with a fried egg for a quick breakfast sandwich.

They can also be diced with a fork or spatula in a warm pan for an instant ground salmon to add to veggie dishes or fish tacos.

They're gluten-free and made with very basic ingredients, like salt and white pepper for a little flavor.

Each bag contains 12 ready-made burgers for $18.99.

Costco is the best place to buy toilet paper.

packages of toilet paper stacked up at costco
Kirkland-brand toilet paper at Costco.Jennifer Espady

Once your bum gets caressed by the soft yet durable texture of Kirkland bath tissue, your life will change for the better.

I haven't used a different brand of toilet paper in my house in 25 years.

The store sometimes limits the number of packs you can purchase to one per household. If you're interested in trying it out, be sure to go early before supplies run low.

Each package has 30 rolls for $16.99.

We're mostly gluten-free, so we opt for almond flour.

packages of almond flour in boxes at costco
Kirkland-brand almond flour at Costco.Jennifer Espady

As people who stay away from wheat or potato starches (except for some occasional Costco bakery splurges), we stock up on the Kirkland Signature super-fine almond flour.

We've made breads, cakes, empanadas, pizzas, pie crusts, cookies, and tortillas with this as the base ingredient.

It lasts for months. Once opened, we store it in the refrigerator to prolong optimal freshness.

The 3-pound bag costs $11.99.

I've switched from peanut butter to almond butter, and Costco has a great deal.

hands holding jars of almond butter at costco
Kirkland-brand almond butter at Costco.Jennifer Espady

I used to be all about peanut butter when I first started shopping at Costco, but as my food options narrowed to what's best for my body and blood type, I've grown to absolutely love roasted almond butter.

Its beautiful texture reminds me of a perfect blend of creamy and crunchy peanut butter.

At Costco, you can get a 27-ounce jar for $5.99, and the only ingredient is roasted almonds.

Macadamia nuts are usually super expensive, but not at Costco.

packages of macadamia nuts in boxes at costco
Kirkland-brand macadamia nuts at Costco.Jennifer Espady

I love the decadent taste of macadamia nuts, but I don't like the hefty price I usually have to pay for them at other stores.

Luckily, Costco sells a 1 1/2-pound bag of roasted macadamia nuts for $18.99.

They taste delicious and they're not as hard on the teeth as other crunchier nuts.

I add them to my homemade trail mix with sprouted organic pumpkin seeds and roasted almonds (which I also buy from Costco). They also pair excellently with chocolate and are so delicious in any homemade dessert, like chocolate cookies.

I like to whip up some Australian lamb for holidays or parties.

packages of australian lamb in a cooler at costco
Kirkland-brand Australian lamb at Costco.Jennifer Espady

Costco's Australian leg of lamb is so tender and versatile. It can be roasted whole and makes for a great party or holiday dish.

We usually cut and slice the meat into cube-sized pieces to be frozen for multiple future meals. Once cut up, we easily get five to eight meals for two out of it.

It freezes wonderfully, and when thawed, seasoned, and cooked, it still tastes super fresh.

The lamb goes for $7.99 a pound.

I love getting the bakery pumpkin pies every fall.

pumpkin pies stacked in a cooler at costco
Pumpkin pies at Costco.Jennifer Espady

Starting in September every year, the Costco Bakery starts pumping out pumpkin pies like clockwork.

I find it hard to eat other pumpkin pies after having this one. The crust is my favorite part because it's a perfect blend of thick and flaky.

The ingredients aren't necessarily part of our normal clean-eating lifestyle, but we like to splurge once a holiday season.

The seasonal item runs through the end of December and is $6.99.

The bakery cakes are great for any occasion.

10-inch cakes decorated for birthdays at costco
Costco bakery birthday cakes.Jennifer Espady

When we're celebrating something, the Costco Bakery is our go-to.

The delicious 10-inch mousse cakes recently made their debut to adjust to the demand of people throwing smaller get-togethers (where they don't need a sheet cake that serves 48).

For $12.99, the round cakes come in plain and pre-decorated varieties in either vanilla or chocolate mousse.

Pro tip: If you need a name or phrase put on the cake, just bring it to one of the bakery workers and they'll usually add some simple writing free of charge.

There's so much I can make with a few pounds of ground beef.

packages of ground beef in a cooler at costco
Kirkland-brand ground beef.Jennifer Espady

Ground beef is one of the most versatile items Costco has to offer.

It makes excellent old-fashioned burgers, lasagna, or tacos. It's also great as a protein addition to a hearty and filling salad bowl.

The meat quality is excellent and it crumbles well without getting too mushy.

It freezes pretty well right in the packaging it comes in. Just thaw it in the bottom of your refrigerator for a few hours or overnight before you want to use it.

Costco sells 4 pounds of ground beef for $19.99.

I use frozen pineapple chunks as fruity ice cubes in the summer.

bag of frozen pineapple chunks in the freezer aisle at costco
New World Farms organic pineapple chunks.Jennifer Espady

The New World Farms frozen pineapple chunks are excellent when slightly thawed.

On super hot days, I love plopping a few of them into some seltzer or sparkling water in place of ice cubes for an instantly beautiful and refreshing summer drink.

For $7.99 a bag, they're also an excellent smoothie ingredient.

The store's frozen organic green beans make a great dinner side.

bag of frozen green beans from costco
Kirkland-brand frozen green beans.Jennifer Espady

The Kirkland frozen green beans pair well sautéed with other veggies, steamed alone, or added as a side dish with some of my favorite proteins (including the salmon burgers, ground beef, or leg of lamb).

Whenever I'm in the mood to crunch on something, instead of running for a bag of chips, I can easily take some from the freezer and lightly steam them until they're hot and crisp. I just sprinkle my favorite seasoning powders like garlic or curry and add some ghee, butter, sesame oil, or olive oil.

The store sells 5-pound bags for $6.79.

Shredded mozzarella cheese makes everything better.

packages of mozzarella cheese in a cooler at costco
Kirkland-brand mozzarella cheese.Jennifer Espady

Costco's shredded mozzarella cheese is the star of any meal that needs a little cheesy goodness added in.

I've made Brazilian-style bread bites, homemade gluten-free pizza, stuffed sweet peppers, omelets, and so much more with it.

But of all the dishes it can go in, a traditional lasagna paired with the organic ground beef from Costco is our all-time favorite.

You can get a ton of use out of the two-pack of 2 1/2-pound bags for $11.99.

Costco is a great place to buy sheets.

sheet sets stacked in boxes at costco
Charisma sheet sets at Costco.Jennifer Espady

I've been luxuriating in Charisma's quality sheets for the past two decades, and I've loved every minute of it.

These sheets are amazingly light yet stretchy and durable enough to last for years. They're cool to the touch so you can transition from season to season and not worry about getting too hot in the summer.

Each set comes with a fitted sheet, a flat sheet, and four pillowcases. There's usually a selection of at least four patterns to choose from. The patterns vary slightly at different times, but the sheets are available all year round.

The queen set is normally $14.99 and the king is $19.99.

I can also complete my bedding with the Charisma blankets.

comforter in a box at costco
Charisma down-alternative blanket at Costco.Jennifer Espady

The Charisma blankets are so soft. They've definitely served as security blankets for me and my family over the years.

The blankets have the same luxurious quality feel as the sheet sets, and it's really like you're getting two because there are completely different patterns on each side.

At $18.99, the price is also rare in the world of quality bedding. They're even usually discounted when certain pattern inventory runs low.

Costco has some of the most comfortable underwear around.

box of cotton underwear from costco
Felina cotton briefs from Costco.Jennifer Espady

The Felina briefs are some of the comfiest and most practical everyday underwear around.

They wash very well and maintain their beautiful colors for years. The colors vary but are usually a blend of whites, blues, pinks, grays, and blacks.

The eight-packs come in sizes S, M, L, and XL for $13.99.

Veggie crisps are a great crunchy snack.

bags of veggie chips at costco
Off the Eaten Path veggie crisps at Costco.Jennifer Espady

When I'm in the mood for a snack, I can munch on the Off the Eaten Path veggie crisps without going too far from my regular eating lifestyle.

They're made from just five ingredients, including rice, green peas, black beans, and a mild preservative for freshness. And there aren't any ingredients that I can't pronounce.

Each bag costs $6.99.

We stock up on the Kirkland absorbent pads for our furry family members.

boxes of absorbent dog pads at costco
Kirkland absorbent pads at Costco.Jennifer Espady

The Kirkland absorbent pads are affectionately known as "wee-wee pads" in our house.

They've been great for our little dogs over the years. But they can also be used for baby needs or any time you want to prevent unwanted spills.

I've used them when painting DIY projects to prevent splashes.

Each box has two individual packs of 50 pads (100 pads total) for $14.99.

Ziploc freezer bags are a lifesaver when I buy so much in bulk.

boxes of ziploc plastic bags from costco
Ziploc bags from Costco.Jennifer Espady

Ziploc freezer bags are absolute lifesavers, and they've been a staple in our household for two decades.

They can easily store baked goods like cookies or brownies, fresh veggies, or frozen meats and meals. Plus, there's an area where you can label each bag for easy organization.

I also use them to store household items or pack travel snacks since they're much more durable than the non-freezer version.

The four-packs come in gallon and quart sizes for $14.99 and $13.99. They typically go on sale for $3.50 off the regular price a few times a year.

Bouquets make a great gift or decoration.

cooler full of flower bouquets at costco
Flower bouquets at Costco.Jennifer Espady

Whether there's a birthday, holiday, graduation, baby shower, or small gathering, the beautiful roses at Costco always come through.

The bouquets, which range from $9.99 to $18.99, are always available in a plethora of colors including reds, pinks, oranges, and whites. During special seasons, like Valentine's Day and Mother's Day, there are also bigger bouquets in glass vases that range from $20 to $50.

The roses are typically Rainforest Alliance Certified, and I've had many bouquets last for about two weeks.

Garden bouquets with different flowers are also available for $9.99.

Read the original article on Insider